"Slay queen" is the term that is used for women who lead extravagant lifestyles on someone else's budget; women who acquire lavish material possessions in exchange for sexual or related favours.
It started off as just a regular term (at times reclaimed to become a celebration of something more positive) but it now only has negative connotations attached to it.
Women have been doing this for quite some time now (and it's certainly not restricted to South Africa), but recently there has been a growing trend to call them out and shame them for pursuing a lifestyle that requires them to entertain rich men who sponsor their pricey habits and tastes.
Yes, it is a reality that there are too many cases in our country of women being trafficked, drugged, raped and murdered by men; and to an extent the "blesser-blessee" relationships between slay queens and their providers can contribute to the patriarchy and misogyny that influence these types of crimes.
But is it really anyone's place to expose and shame women who are involved in consensual transactional relationships?
So tired of hearing about how 'slay queens' and 'slay kings' acquire what they have. If they aren't in danger and have full knowledge of what they are doing, then why do you guys insist on 'exposing' them?— Mpumi (@MpumiNgwenyas) June 5, 2018
The birth of the hashtag #HoeIsLife was one that advocated for women being able to do whatever they want with their bodies. While the patriarchy polices women's bodies, feminism strives to encourage and support women to make the choices they want. And yet, women are continuously shamed and dragged for taking ownership of their bodies.
The shaming of these women is based on the standards and objective moral standings of individuals. These standards, however, rarely remain consistent.
Consider the titillation that one law student's leaked nude picture created some while back, and compare that to the backlash that Kim Kardashian receives for posting nude pictures on her personal social media accounts. The only difference between these two cases is a matter of choice: the world seemingly doesn't like a woman who takes ownership of her body and does what she wants with it on her own terms.
Following the thread from certain Twitter accounts, it seems that the exposure of slay queens can be more about shaming and ostracising women rather than directly and practically addressing the issues of the sexual violence committed by men.
When women are shamed and exposed for what they do, it not only violates their privacy but also their right to make the choices that they want to make, while letting the offenses that men continue to commit go seemingly unnoticed. It then creates the impression that women are the only participants in these transactions because the blessers are rarely seen, exposed for willingly spending their money this way.
Where are the accounts that expose them in the same way they do the women?
I absolutely despise this "slay queen" phrase that people are now using to peddle their disdain for women who choose a lifestyle contrary to your belief. Feminists busy calling people slay queens, what's that? Feminism = freedom of choice. No?— Bonnie Kamona (@HereroRocher) December 7, 2017
There is a thin line between us being advocates for women's safety and being custodians of their bodies and choices. The fact of the matter is, at the end of the day it seems like it really doesn't matter what women choose to do as individuals because whatever they decide, men still think it's okay to harass and assault them.
The same way that Babes Wodumo was confronted about her relationship with Mampintsha in an interview is the same in which slay queens are confronted and this is not a productive way to resolve the issues of violence against women.
If the issue is the safety of women regarding rape and abductions, and the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, then the focus should be shifted to the roots of the matters themselves and not on the women who are affected by them. If your concern is that slay queens are prone to getting raped, then address the issue of rape. If your concern is that slay queens are putting their sexual health at risk, then address the matter of safe sex and taking necessary precautions.
The conversation is open enough to alert those who did not know that there are numerous consequences involved with this particular lifestyle – as is the case with any and every lifestyle there is – but now there needs to be a level of consideration and respect afforded to all women; regardless of what they decide to do with their bodies.
I see where you’re coming from. However, this expose also shows young women that there are women who pose as mangers who will be your madam. You will be a sex worker instead of a “model”. It’s just sharing information- use it, don’t use it. It’s your life at the end of the day.— Silindile (@SlieNgcobo) May 21, 2018
Here's a video that speaks about gender violence hosted by Twitter personality @Zukolate:
And another where media personality PhatJoe, speaks to two women who have been referred to as 'Dubai girls':
What are your thoughts? Would you consider yourself a slay queen or do you know someone who's been called one? Chat to us about it here.
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